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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday, A Look Back at The Flutter Top

If you aren't on Instagram, I strongly encourage you to open an account!!! The inspiration is incredible!!! 

For the month of March, Sam of Fruglisama, and Ruan of The Yorkshire Sew Girl  hosted a challenge, make up a dress with a free pattern, and use something from your stash. Okay, easy enough. As I thought about the free pattern that I would like to use, there are millions!!!!, I decided to use 1 of my own free patterns. Why not?!! After all, I've invested a lot of time and energy into my Fabulous Free Pattern Friday series. 

The tunic/top below was actually done 10 years ago :/ Amazing! But, it's still great all these years later. I called it The Flutter Top as the draped side flutters when you walk :) You can find the free instructions HERE


I had found a lovely piece of silk at the resale shop. I'm always amazed by what people give away. The size of the piece was perfect for the project. There wasn't enough to do a belt, but I also had a lovely piece of silk that had been given to me, and I liked how the 2 pieces worked together.  


This piece could not be simpler, it's just a rectangle. I left arm openings on the side seams. The drape section is created with just a simple vertical seam. A large buttonhole was done at the waistline for the tie belt to go through. The selvedge edge was so nice, so I left it and did not even hem dress.


Here you can see me move in the dress :)


Just in case you missed the link, you can find the instructions HERE. A great piece for spring/summer wear. If you make a shorter tunic length, it looks fabulous with pants, especially a pair of very flowy pants. 

Winter is quickly coming to an end. I am off for my very last day of skiing. Kinda makes me sad :(  But, there's so much to look forward to, kayaking, lovely hikes with Berkley, working in my garden. We always need to look for the bright side of everything!

Thanks for stopping by :)
 Rhonda




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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Creating With Friends

 A while back, Cennetta Burwell of The Mahogany Stylist and I teamed up to make cargo pants. We had so much fun!!! And then the added benefit...we got new pants!!!

We have both enjoyed our cargo pants so much that we decided to team up again and do not only a new pair of cargo pants, but a cargo jacket as well. We chose the Kelly Anorak from Closet Core Patterns.

 


My jacket is cut and ready to go. Cennetta and I are using the same fabric for our jackets, so we'll be twins ;) The fabric is a lovely stretch twill, so it should make for a fabulous spring jacket. 


Once we get our jackets completed, we will be making the cargo pants from Iconic Patterns


We love the look of the pant. Can't wait to get these made up!


If you have never collaborated with a friend on a sewing project, I encourage you to do so. If nothing more, you both hold each other accountable!!! 

We should have made a little progress on our jackets by next week, so stay tuned!!!




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Monday, March 15, 2021

Monday Morning Inspiration/Combining Prints

Over on Instagram, Sewover 50 has a little challenge going for the month of March entitled, #SO50PATTERNMIXING 

When I read about the challenge, I thought that it would be a lot of fun to participate. A while back, I found this fun little dress at the resale shop. I absolutely loved the mix of patterns, and the overall design.  


I did wear it as 1 of my outfit of the day pieces, and paired it with a pair of tights that I did make. So although I didn't make the dress, at least I made the tights!!! :) But, I thought the dress was really quite inspirational, especially for any type of scrap busting one might like to do.   


So, here are my plans for my pattern mixing piece.

There's a wonderful band out of North Carolina called Fireside Collective. Like all performers, they have really had a difficult go of it this past year. I bought a few t-shirts, and various things in order to try and help out a bit. Whenever I buy a t-shirt, I always like to get an X-large as I cut them down and make them into something that's not just something without any fit. Sadly, my camera did not do justice to the colors, but it's a lovely green with blues, and purples in the logo.   


I made the mountainscape t-shirt last summer. It's fine, but crazy me, when I attached the neckband, I wasn't paying attention, and the center back seam is at center front. Yes, I could take it off and reposition it, but I really like how the colors work with the Fireside Collective t-shirt, so it's getting cut up. 


I needed a few more pieces to mix in, so I headed over to the resale shop. Again, my camera did not pick up the colors, but the 3 pieces that I chose really do work quite well with the Fireside Collective t-shirt, and the mountainscape t-shirt.   


We'll see how this all turns out :/ At the very least, I think it will be fun to arrange the pieces, and just play around a bit!

Wishing you a lovely, lovely week!!!

BTW, the new blog that I am writing for the American Opera Society of Chicago is going quite well. If by chance you would like to check it out, you can find all of the posts that I've done thus far HERE

Rhonda




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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Fun with Fashion/Just Letting It Happen

One of the best things about being able to sew is being able to create a truly unique garment. A few years ago, I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo Ball in Chicago. It is an absolutely spectacular event, and they raise huge amounts of money for the zoo. I think it's 1 of only 3 zoos in the United States that's still free. Anyway, I was shocked that evening as 4, yes 4!!! women had on the exact same gown. Talk about horror of horrors!!! Well, in the overall scope of things, if this is your worst horror, it really isn't all that bad ;), but I'm sure those ladies were not happy :/

I purchased the fun faces in the dark fabric that I used for the skirt below some time ago from Mood Fabrics. Once I had the fabric, I thought it would make a fun skirt. I can't remember how much I purchased, but it wasn't a lot, so I ended up piecing it a tiny bit on the side seam at the waist. Who's going to ever see that, right?!! The piecing ended up disappearing into the folds of the gathers, so no one will ever be the wiser...except you!!!  


Once I got the skirt together, it felt a little short, so I purchased the black cotton to make a border along the hem. I cut it on the bias and it worked out perfectly, except that it felt a little stark. What to do? As I looked at the fabric, what jumped out at me were the eyelashes on the faces. Hmmm...why not embroider eyelashes on the border? I decided to keep them somewhat free form, and form a scallop like design. I'm quite happy with the outcome :)


I felt that the skirt needed a lining, and in my quest to try and use what I have, I decided to use the animal print silk. I decided that if it wasn't the best, hey it's lining!!! But, once I got it together, I liked it so much that I decided to do a matching blouse.     


Since I used ALL of my fabric to make the skirt, and had nothing left for a waistband, I decided to just do a fold over elastic. 


For the blouse, I had this pattern, and I really liked the sleeves. It's a nice basic pattern.


I decided that I wanted a cummerbund type of a detail, so I cut 2 very long strips, and put a layer of fusi-knit inside to give the silk a little stability. The ends of the strips were cut on an angle and attached at the side seam so that they could wrap around the waist.


And here's the final result!


Here's a little video to give you an idea of how the outfit moves.


This outfit was definitely a piece that evolved. It was not planned out from the beginning, but I think that's part of the fun of creating, just let it happen :)

Wishing you a creatively wonderful day :)
 Rhonda



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Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday Morning Inspiration/International Women's Day

When I sat down to do my writing this morning, I tore the page off my daily calendar and saw that it's International Women's Day. For some, the day will mean nothing. For others, it's a day to participate in a march. For me, it's a day to reflect, and to think about the women who came before me. None of them wrote a great piece of literature, found a cure for a disease, or held a political office. But, they were heroes in their own right. I wrote the piece below in 2012, the morning before I went to vote. I hope that you will enjoy it.

     

A Voice Where One Did Not Exist

A few years before my great aunt died, she gave me this picture.



It's an incredible piece of family history as pictured here in the front row is my great-great-great grandmother and grandfather. On the right hand side of the picture, is my great-great grandfather and grandmother(her eyes have been scratched out. At some point in time, a child got hold of this picture and drew all over the back and scratched out the eyes of my great-great grandmother.) In her lap is my great grandmother and in the lap of her sister is the twin sister of my great grandmother. This photograph was taken in 1886.


Faces from the past, strangers, and yet, my family.


As I look at this woman, my ancestor, I think of what her life was like. It was a hard life. She would have risen early, cooked on a wood stove, which meant the stove had to be stoked prior to cooking. No turning a knob and instantly having a flame. Eggs would be gathered, chickens fed, the cow milked, and all before breakfast was cooked. Her life was a busy life, taking care of a home, sewing, cooking, raising children and all without any of the luxuries that I now take for granted. What her eyes tell me though, is that this was all done as she had no other choice. No choice and more importantly, no voice. 
 

I know more about my great-great grandmother. What a joy to be able to see what my great-great grandfather looked like. He looks to have been a good man. The couple went on to have two more children, another daughter and a son. Sadly, my great-great grandfather died when the children were still quite young. At that time, a woman could not own land in Florida, but she could in Texas, as long as she was not married. In pursuit of a better life for her family, this woman who had been left alone with four young children, packed her wagon, tied the cow to the back, and set off for Texas. What an incredibly brave woman. There were no conveniences along the way. They had to walk as the wagon carried their belongings. Nights were spent under the stars, all of their food cooked on a campfire. When it rained, they were wet. It was a very difficult journey. They did make it to Texas and she and all of her children lived out their lives there. My great-great grandmother died in 1961 at the age of 96.
At the time of this picture, there are three generations of women who had no voice, no rights, only obligations. 
Today, I will vote. My right to vote is very important to me. It's important to ensure the future of the women who are yet to come, and it's important as a sign of respect for all those who came before me who had no voice. As I walk into the polling place today, I will think of my great-great grandmother. Each step I take will be dedicated to all the steps she took to pursue a better life for her family. As I cast my vote, I will thank her for the life I have, the voice I have, the rights I have. 

           _________________________________________

The picture below is of my great grandmother, the same woman who was being held by her mother in the family picture above. Although you can't see me, I am there. She was making breakfast, and I was standing beside her, talking. The photograph was taken as she looked down to reply to me. This picture hangs in my kitchen. Alongside the picture is the spoon that she cooked with. It's quite worn, but such a treasure to me. 


So many of us tend to get caught up in the idea that the women who have really made a mark in this world are those who have fought, marched, bucked the system. While they are important, I think it's also important to remember those who came before us, who took chances, and created a better life for their families. Had my great-great grandmother not taken the chance to walk to Texas with her family, I would not be here today. 

I hope that you will take sometime today to reflect on all those who came before you, who struggled and paved the path for your life. 



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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Life Gives Us a Present, and It's Called Today

Come to find out, the typical person wears 20% of their wardrobe, 80% of the time. 

Since last July, I have been on a journey to wear my handmade wardrobe each and everyday. There have been a few days here and there where I just didn't feel like dressing, stayed in my running pants, no shower, no makeup, just me in the raw ;) But, I think we all need a day like this from time to time. 

I have learned so much about myself, about my wardrobe, what I like, what don't like, and what I need. As extensive as my wardrobe is, I think most would wonder what I could possibly need, but by being so focused, I have seen the holes in the puzzle of my wardrobe. 

It's no secret that I absolutely LOVE Ted Talks.They inspire me, make me laugh, and give me so much to think about. I recently came across a talk that was done by an emergency room nurse. Her talk is entitled, "Change Your Closet, Change Your Life." She talks about how we "save" things for a day that may or may not come. There's a comment that she made that I so loved. She equates clothes, our good china, a special bottle of alcohol, even a candle as presents that we leave wrapped. But, what's on the inside is always better than the wrapping. In other words, using what we have is a better gift than saving it, and potentially never using it. If you have a few minutes, I invite you to grab a favorite cup of tea, or coffee, and enjoy her video.


With me posting my outfit of the day, each and everyday on Instagram, what I have found most interesting is that so many want to see inside my closet. I had forgotten that I did a video peek into my closet 4 years ago. In the video I talk about Jennifer Scott of  the Daily Connoisseur, and 3 of the books she wrote on living well. You can find her YouTube channel HERE. I also showcase a few of my favorite pieces from my wardrobe. If you missed it 4 years ago, or would just like to see it again, I have included it below. When you grab that cup of tea, make sure it's a big one ;)


Another "closet" video is in the works, so it should be up soon :)

What I have found interesting is that COVID is what inspired my journey, and it is what has prompted me to live as I really want to live. I do my best to dress each and everyday because I know all too well that this could easily be my last day. I have learned to focus on what I can do, and not on what I can't. Many or shocked when I saw that this past year has actually been one of the best years of my life. 

I love this quote from Gillian Dunn;

When we put excuses on hold, we find that the other side is joy, confidence, and freedom.  





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